April 4, 2018

Don’t get freshet-ed

An April 4 snowstorm should make the spring melt interesting.

The snow pack in the Lake Nipissing and Trout Lake watersheds was already slightly above average. And there’s a fairly high water table already, a soggy fall before an early freeze, with waves of alternating frigid and balmy throughout the winter not helping matters much.

You’d be wise to keep on guard during the spring thaw because the conditions are near prime for a flood if the spring melt "freshet" comes fast and furious.

The culvert on the north side of the TransCanada Highway where I live in Corbeil, ON is blocked fairly solid with a thick ice dam spanning the top two-thirds. The Ministry of Transportation has been advised and they’re watching it closely. It’s one of many freeze-up and run-off concerns brought to their attention, no doubt. This year. It’s already ugly closer to North Bay in front of the Mr. Gas.

I first contacted them via Twitter: @ONtransport and someone replied with the service provider’s number for maintenance concerns: Broadspectrum at 1-866-840-2232.

They just redid the culverts a few years ago when there was a major road project to take out some rock cuts along this stretch.

There’s been plenty of accidents, partly due to a few dips like the one in front of my hacienda here, with somewhat dubious passing sections on two-lane stretches. Rock cuts too near the road provide zero cushion for those who slide off. They also cause shade for dangerous black-ice patches as well as wind tunnels for blowing snow.

A string of head-on collisions last year, however, are harder to explain. Some say it may have had something to do with the centre line being covered by snow or the paint wearing off quickly. Others suspect distracted driving.

What’s it like where you live? Why not share your best spring flood tale.

Email [email protected] or use the contact form to make suggestions to improve the story. Comments are welcome as well. Thanks for reading.

My front yard highway ditch in March, can't go under my driveway to the south-flowing culvert that's also frozen shut (show above).
My front yard highway ditch in March, can't go under my driveway to the south-flowing culvert that's also frozen shut (show above).

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